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Turning aspirations into reality - Pam's Story


We offer a range of services designed to help you manage and enjoy your home while providing opportunities that support you to fulfill your potential and improve your community.

This includes working with you to getting to grips with your finances and helping you achieve your aspirations, as shown by Pam’s story.

Meet Pam

Pam has lived in a Clarion home in Brighton for nearly 20 years. She owns her own photography business, as well as a new online store where she sells her prints and creative clothing designs.

Pam lacked the confidence, belief and skills to promote her business, and took on cleaning jobs to support herself, especially when COVID hit and her photography work began to dwindle.

However, Pam’s health took a turn for the worse as she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which causes long term chronic pain and inflammation affecting both of her feet. She then had to sign off work and start claiming Universal Credit.

Pam went from being an avid cycler and hiker, who walked between eight and 10 miles every day, to being stuck indoors unable to do anything.

Her confidence had been knocked. She was stuck in the house, feeling demotivated, struggling to even look at her art room having lost her confidence to create.


Setting up her business

Pam decided she needed to start sharing her artwork with the world, but didn’t have the right skills or confidence to do so. 

Pam initially got into touch with Clarion’s Guideline service after there was an issue with her Universal Credit. 

“I was really depressed and anxious to start with. I haven’t been on benefits for 10 years and I didn’t really want it as I’ve been self-sufficient for all this time. But Clarion have offered me so much support to get me through this.” 

It was during this conversation that Pam mentioned her dream of having the confidence to focus on her own photography and art business. 

And from then it has been a mind-blowing experience as Clarion have really stepped up and found ways to support me” Pam said. 

Guideline referred her to Clarion Futures’ Jobs and Training team, where she spoke to Whitney, a dedicated Employment Support Officer.

suggested that Pam undertake a Customer Service and Confidence & Self-Esteem course with Clarion Futures. 

“This course helped me see where I was at. I realised I had the skill set, but didn’t quite have the self-esteem because of my illness. It was really bad for my mental health, but by doing the course I was able to refocus and reframe my thoughts.” 

It also gave Pam the boost she needed to reach out to the United Arts Space for their eight-week course on Making Art You Love and Turn What You Love into a Living.

To help her meet the cost, Whitney helped Pam to apply for a Re:Train grant, which offers up to £1,000 to start or continue a course developing your professional skills if you are unemployed, facing redundancy, or looking to change career.

“Now I’m working full time in a studio, my photography schedule is full, and I’m selling loads of my dresses. I’m also negotiating to sell a piece of art. My life is now what I want it to be,” Pam said. 

“I’ve been blown away by all of the support I’ve had. It’s been incredible, Clarion have been really supportive. I could probably tap into more support, they said speak to us whenever you need, be it every day, every week. It’s just been amazing… look where I am now.” 

Resident Pam sits outside in a hat as she proudly displays her green and purple artwork.

Support and accessing training

“I was shocked about all of the support available. I was in such a big hole and it was all very new to me. To anyone going through a similar situation, I would say reach out and say something.

“The grants have been fantastic, and given me the drive and incentive to get on with my business. My advisors are only an email away. I have business meetings with Claire and I have joined the network team she has set up. It’s been brilliant.”

“I want to say a massive thank you to Clarion Futures, I had no idea where my life was heading to or how I was going to get myself out of the hole I was slipping into.

“With my health being so bad, I didn’t know which way to turn. Clarion helped support me during my darkest hour.”

Pam will now be making an application to our ‘Business Start Up grant’ to grow her business even further, with the help of £1,000 to aid her business plan.

If you would like to start a new business or develop your skills with career-related training, our grants team are available to help you with every step of your application.

Clarion Futures are on hand to support in numerous ways. From Money Guidance help, to supporting with wellbeing, we can help you.

Find out more about Clarion Futures.

Resident Pam wears a hat and pink cardigan as she holds a camera and takes a photo outside.